Featured in the January 2022 issue of The Rowling Library Magazine.

Harry Potter & J.K. Rowling: What to expect in 2022

2043 words.

The year 2021 is now a thing of the past. Fans of Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling had a quiet year: the high point was the publication of The Christmas Pig, our fav author’s new novel for children that charmed adults alike, and still stays on the bestseller lists after months since its release. For fans who want to know all the details, the book’s publication also brought columns and articles from Rowling herself explaining the inspiration behind the plot and how certain aspects of it connect to her own experience with her son David.

Towards the end of the year we got announcements and trailers: those who haven’t stayed that close to the Wizarding World surely enjoyed the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, while those of us who follow the day-to-day and look for new stories have found ourselves happier to have a title and trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. But both announcements indicate releases in 2022, and thankfully they won’t be the only ones: fans of J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter saga alike will have plenty of material in the next 12 months. 

Return to Hogwarts

You don’t have to wait at all once 2022 starts to consume new material from the Wizarding World. On January 1st on HBO Max (or different TV channels and platforms in countries where HBO Max is not available), you’ll be able to watch Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, a special celebrating the Wizard Boy films that reunites the actors, producers and directors of the eight films of the saga back at the studios where they were filmed.

The reunion, which was as much for the fans as it was for the actors themselves, saw the latter reunite after several years of not seeing each other and recount anecdotes from the ten years they filmed. Of course, J.K. Rowling is present, albeit in a strange way: the documentary only includes the author and creator of the Wizarding World through pre-recorded interviews, and she did not appear in person with the other celebrities. While certain theories claim that Warner Bros did not invite her, officially the author’s team claims that the invitation was made but that they felt that with the interviews (both archival and one never-before-seen from 2019) there was enough material.

It is worth noting, however, that Warner Bros does not mention Rowling in any of its promotional material. Where her absence is most noticeable is in the various promotional trailers: while the list of celebrities featured includes dozens of actors, the producers and even all the directors who worked on the films, the person who created the world of Harry Potter is never mentioned. A bit odd.

Return to Hogwarts
Return to Hogwarts

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Next up for the Wizarding World is the third installment in the saga of Newt Scamander, or should we say Albus Dumbledore? The film (originally due for release in 2020, then 2021) will finally be seen in April this year, and as J.K. Rowling said via Twitter, the third film will give answers to the questions left unsolved in the first two films.

The trailer already showed us quite a lot: new creatures, settings, the return to Hogwarts (with the controversial McGonagall included), even the new interpretation of Gellert Grindelwald by Mads Mikkelsen, which shows him more human and less flamboyant. The trailer doesn’t suggest any in-universe justification for the new look and we don’t think it will be explained. Tina’s absence from the teaser does seem to confirm that her character will be relegated to something less than a supporting character, and J.K. Rowling’s absence from the teaser has already been discussed at length.

Amidst all the theories and reactions (and anxiety), it’s worth noting that the release date is still unclear. The poster (which heavily alludes to the Harry Potter series, as if it had no shame in trying to capture those who loved the original saga) only promises a theatrical release in April. At the moment, the release dates differ by more than a week between countries, which is very strange for productions of this style. Apparently, it will be released in Germany on 7 April and in the UK on 8 April. A week later, 13 April is the date for France, and in the US only on 15 April. Such a gap could simply be because Warner Bros. is waiting to find out what is the best date to release a film in an industry where it is very important to know the competition and the other releases on the same date. It is possible (and should be appropriate) that they ended up changing it to have a global release date: a week’s gap will only make people spoil the entire plot of the film.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is out in April
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is out in April

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – The Original Screenplay

We are four months away from the film and we should already have news, or at least an official announcement, about the publication of the screenplay in book format, as it happened with the first two parts. The truth is that there is still nothing, only a statement from J.K. Rowling’s representatives saying that the plans for publication exist and that everything will be communicated in due course.

There are reasons to suspect a non-publication. One of the reasons could be that the script for this third installment is not only signed by the British author but also by Steve Kloves. How will that affect the publication? Will both be listed as authors? Will the original version that Rowling wrote alone be published? On the other hand, Rowling has been distancing herself from the franchise and the evidence is on her Twitter account. Although she occasionally takes to the social network to answer questions about her Cormoran Strike books, she hasn’t mentioned Fantastic Beasts in a while. What’s more, she hasn’t even RT’d the title or trailer announcements, something that she did for The Crimes of Grindelwald. It could then be a personal decision by the author not to publish the script.

However, if her agents are anything to go by, as soon as April gets here we could have a new book to add to our shelves signed by J.K. Rowling.

New Editions

Year 2022 will mark the 25th anniversary since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury publisher. To celebrate the landmark, the British publisher will release a new edition of the novel that will mimic the original one. The new book will have the original cover and backcover, alongside a new essay by Thomas Taylor, the original illustrator who was the first to give Harry a face. Besides the new release, Bloomsbury is planning a lot of activities and events to celebrate two decades and a half since Great Britain discovered the Boy Wizard.

But that will not be the only one Harry Potter novel that will get a new release. The anticipated illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by Jim Kay will also see the light in 2022, probably closer to October. The publisher has only confirmed that the edition will be released this year, but nothing else was shared: not an exact date, size, pages, amount of illustration or anything else. But knowing JIm Kay and his incredible talent, we are sure it is going to be a must-have edition.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - 25th Anniversary Edition is out in June
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 25th Anniversary Edition is out in June

The Ink Black Heart 

It was on December 3rd 2021 that Rowling herself (and not a statement from any of the involved publication houses) announced on Twitter that the title of the sixth book in the Cormoran Strike saga would be The Ink Black Heart and that it would be published in 2022. Weeks later (towards the end of the month), Rowling commented again that the book was finished and that she was now working on the editing process.

There is no date certain, and while everything could change, the timing matches that of Lethal White: for the fourth Strike book, Rowling was also editing during January and February (and according to her Twitter account, it extended into May). If we consider that Rowling started around the same time, and the book is of a similar length, we could assume a similar timeline and expect The Ink Black Heart to be published between September and October, which are in fact the months in which the last three books by Robert Galbraith were published.

We could then, if the script for Fantastic Beasts 3 is published, have Rowling’s 2022 second book in the second semester.

The Ink Black Heart
The Ink Black Heart

New Book

It was almost by chance: Rowling mentioned it in passing, knowing the effect it would have. “Today, I reread the first 14k words of my new book and I thought ‘that’s got to go… that’s woeful… what the hell were you thinking there?’ I’d advise putting it away for a full month, then taking it out again and wielding the scalpel with precision.”

When asked by several Twitter users if that was going to delay Strike 6 (believing that was the book Rowling was referring to), the author’s response was blunt: “Strike 6 is finished and I’m editing it. No delays, I promise”, which might lead us to assume that “new book” refers to a new work that she was mentioning for the first time. Rowling also always referred to the Strike books as such, so it would be odd that having confirmed that Strike 6 was already in its final stages a few days earlier, she would choose to call it a “new book” now.

This leads us to assume that Rowling is already working on a new novel (personally I’d like to see something for adults a là The Casual Vacancy), although it might be difficult to see it published this year. What is certain is that she is already working on her next book.

Hogwarts Legacy

It is true that this video game is not the product of J.K. Rowling and it has been confirmed that the author is not involved in any aspect of its creation, but it is one of the most eagerly awaited (because of its novelty) among a large section of fans.

Announced in 2020 for 2021 and delayed to 2022, the game promises what many fans have been dreaming of for years: the ability (in a virtual world, of course) to create your character, attend Hogwarts and make your own story. This last aspect is one of the most promising, as the game’s creators promise the possibility to choose one’s own destiny and choose to be on the good or bad side of history. This also means many, many hours of gameplay, as the non-linear story allows for many possibilities and permutations that everyone will want to explore.

While Rowling’s absence from the creative side of things makes this game non-canon from the start (almost a fan fiction created by a millionaire studio that got the license), this can be a good thing: there will be no problems if it contradicts anything in the books or if fans don’t like the way the story set in Hogwarts in the late 19th century is going, it is simply a game based in the world we long for. No conflicts or discussions to make it fit the known lore.

Hogwarts Legacy
Hogwarts Legacy

* * *

The coming year has enough official projects announced and many rumoured (such as the Harry Potter series for HBO Max), and many more likely to be revealed soon. It looks like we fans will have plenty of content for the next twelve months, and that’s not even counting the projects that will be made by the fans themselves. At the moment, we at The Rowling Library have many ideas in mind that we will be sharing in due course, but we are sure that 2022 will be a great year for the Wizarding World in all aspects.